After a couple of lattes and Fleur's breakfast blue cod sandwich I'm on that same coast road back to Oamaru.
This time I search for and discover the exact spot where we used to camp at Campbell's Bay and I stop at All Day Bay to see if there is any sign of my friendly dolphin. No sign. It's got other fish to fry (or frighten), I guess.
I also take the small diversion to Bushy Beach which, in my Oamaru days (aged about 3 to 8), I had never even heard of and, until this day, I have never visited. What an omission!
A walk along a steep bush-clad slope brings you to a point from which you can view penguins, fur seals, sea lions and Hector's dolphins. I see none of those but I do spot a discarded native plastic drink bottle.
Never mind, the sight of that glorious golden beach is enough to compensate – especially given that I didn't even know about it.
Oamaru appears to be good at not pulling stuff down though many landmarks have had to repurpose to escape the bulldozers. The Majestic Theatre, for example, is still standing but it is now home to the Oamaru Elim Church so is still probably quite happy-clappy.
This venue is significant to me because it is where I saw the first film that I remember, Modern Times starring Charlie Chaplin. The film was already a couple of decades old but was probably an important step in the future trend of cinemas showing old movies.
Across the road on Thames St I see an old (original?) stretch of verandah which I feel sure once covered a tearoom I was taken to as a young child, possibly on the same outing as the Chaplin movie. It has now morphed into Trade Aid, Jacqui's Hair Salon, Smart Mobile or Noodle Canteen, which all currently share the same antique verandah.
The public hospital has become a motel. I remember it because I had my tonsils out at about age 6. Didn't everyone? From my bed I was able to look out over Oamaru Harbour which, at the time, looked like the Riviera.
I remember yachts but they must have been skippered by children who were just learning to sail because today's inspection reveals there is not enough room in that enclosure for an actual grown-up yacht race.
And the railway station, quite a grand wooden structure, has had to turn part of its interior into an Asian restaurant, The Station Wok. Wok really strikes me is the depressing state of the platform area beside five lines leading to nowhere, though, to be fair, some of them probably take freight to the port.
One of those lines carried Queen Elizabeth through Oamaru on January 25, 1954. I waved a little flag (royalist grandparents).
All the old grain stores, wool stores and shipping buildings have morphed into something of which the town can be proud. Harbour St and surrounds enable us to wander back through history.
Despite the tourism appeal, I find it hard to find tawdry tourist pap. I am looking for a penguin snowglobe but can find none.
Friendly Bay, my earliest-remembered bathing beach (I wore woollen togs with a metal buckle), is intact though it has had a café added. I suppose you can't stop progress.
But the demographic of Oamaru has definitely changed. Outside a convenience store, I spot four separate side-by-side, professionally-printed signs which clearly suggest things have changed in a number of ways: Kava Avilable Here; Party Ice Bags Avilable Here; Otago Daily Times Avilable Here; Taro and Cassava Avilable Here.
I suppose I should at least admire the consistency of the misspelling.
Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.